from routine to radical

this summer has been invaluable. i have grown, i have stretched. i have cried, i have learned. leaving columbia felt like a fist to my stomach & it sometimes feels like that still. throughout all of those unwanted changes, i have grown a whole heck of a lot. i am proud of that.

columbia was very comfortable. i had a group of women whom i loved dearly. we had a church. we worked at an artisan bakery & coffee shop. we played in our garden & biked everywhere. i was learning in a classroom, earning my degree.

i've written a lot about the process of moving from comfortable columbia to the south. biking is non-existent so we were forced to buy a second vehicle. a lot of people in this town are much older, making it difficult to form friendships. we are still looking for a church & sometimes my job is pretty awful.

but throughout all of that, we are finding that we can still thrive. i work part-time (a decision luke & i made together), which allows for me to devote many hours to self-learning & experimenting. we are adding chickens to our backyard soon & harvesting most of the food we eat from the farm where luke works & the garden in our own backyard. we plan to attend a bee-keeping club next month & learn to work a hive come next season. i am adding full jars of pickles, preserves & tomatoes to our pantry daily & have the time to read books & articles of my own choosing.

i recently picked-up radical homemakers & was challenged & inspired in more ways that i can express here. although i do not subscribe to her ideology fully, i believe she has stuff worth saying. time at home can feel so routine sometimes. those dishes are never-ending & the garden never seems to look perfect. it can also feel lonely. i miss luke when he is gone & those friendships in columbia can start to feel impossibly far away.

there is something radical (& i believe that's what shannon hayes is cluing us readers in on) in removing ourselves from the consumer lifestyle, building up community wherever we are, cultivating the home, & growing to find worth in the day-to-day.

once i figured this out, i sort of felt radical myself. this morning i found satisfaction in making honey peach preserves to be given as gifts & savored during the winter months. i watered the garden this morning & was over-joyed with the ripe tomatoes on the vine. fresh whole wheat banana bread is cooling in the kitchen & home-made butter is ready for eating.

there is just something absolutely beautiful about having time to live in the moment, use what you're given & spend time with the ones you cherish most.



Julia said...

oh natalie! there is so much truth in these words of yours. i wish you lived down the street from me, but since you don't, i'm so glad you are finding ways to feel happy and fulfilled in your new life. i know you will make it great for you and luke.

melania said...

hi Natalie! so great to read your post. You are doing some amazing and wonderful things. we have chickens but our garden is by no means thriving. I'm not working much and also exploring a different way of living but sometimes I don't feel so productive - I find it hard to progress sometimes when I'm home alone and wondering how I can get some more garden beds going. When I picked up radical homemakers I found it relieving and affirming to have someone put words to some of the things I've been thinking about and exploring. I love that phrase 'life-giving economy' and I can really see how those 4 basic tenets fit with other values of mine.

Thanks for sharing! All the best with settling in to your new home!

Jess said...

sounds like you are growing, growing, growing! and that though it is so hard, it is also fruitful. I love you, Natalie, and am so proud of you.

shari said...

i really resonate with this beautiful post. hope you are well, natalie. xo

Ness said...

Somewhere in this house is a copy of Edith Schaeffer's book, The Hidden Art of Homemaking. I suspect it is corny, but maybe not...I will have to look after having it on the shelf for 15 years....

Andrea said...

I can relate to your circumstances for certain. We've moved about 10 times in the last 10 years, but I think I finally found "home" and it ended up being back home actually. I think your attitude is wonderful and there is nothing better than seeing a pantry full of preserves--especially those of your own sweat & toil. Cheers!

Molly said...

wonderful post. and so totally familiar - not just the colander and the red wagon flyer and the pyrex dish and the jars of jams and pickles that look so much like my home - but the whole notion that homemaking (especially of the radical variety) is all a state of mind. it can be tedious if we allow it to be (and those dang dirty dishes are tedious), or rewarding in it's own quiet way (think of the time i get to meditate while my hands scrub plates!).

we have bees and chickens, and both have enriched not just our backyard but our whole life here on our little patch of earth. though i can't say that our neighbors totally agree :)

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